VariAL-SF Aluminium Cladding
As a consequence of the Grenfell tragedy, an assessment of the building envelope was carried out on the 275nr residential apartment block in the centre of Leeds. It was found to be non-compliant with current regulations and in urgent need of replacement.
The VariAL-SF system was selected as it complied with an A2 fire rating, with EN13501-1 classification by third parties, and satisfied the detailed planning constraints.
The importance of the cladding refurbishment and replacement on this high-rise residential building cannot be understated. The building was identified by West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service late in 2019 as being high risk from the perspective of residents safety, due to the fact it was clad in flammable panels and onus was placed on the building owner to take swift action to make the building safe. As such, an ambitious 52 week programme for complete removal of the existing cladding and replacement was set out and achieved by the project team, despite significant limitations in terms of access and logistical challenges.
To the passer-by, there is barely any discernible difference in the aesthetic of the building’s new facade, the colour-matching of the panels is incredibly accurate and allowed for a seamless transition to a much safer environment for the building’s residents.
The apartment block was in the middle of a built up residential area. The contractor needed to obtain road closures from Leeds city council for two main roads which ran the full length and one side elevation.
Furthermore the other main elevation was a pedestrian walkway with access to the apartment block , a hotel and several commercial buildings therefore safe access routes and segregation had to be installed and coordinated with the various parties involved.
In addition, the building had to be reclad using 125ft cherry pickers working off the main road and pedestrian walkways therefore protective tracking systems had to be laid over the tarmac and paving to protect the existing materials.
Throughout the building refurbishment, which took exactly 52 weeks, access to all the various buildings was maintained and contractor site personnel worked closely with adjacent building owners and especially the management team of the apartment block which accommodated 270 apartments to ensure minimal disruption.